Monday, May 21, 2001

County woos small businesses for ballpark




By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County is reaching out to small business owners to help them participate in building Great American Ball Park.

        An outreach session scheduled for Thursday is designed to inform owners of small businesses — including those owned by minorities and women — about the construction work coming up for bid at the $280 million publicly financed stadium.

        The session will be 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati, 3458 Reading Road, Avondale. Contracts for painting, signage, glass and mill work will come due in June.

        The forums also serve as ideal networking opportunities, said Ty Stuckey, president of TYS Construction Services, a certified, small, minority-owned business in Bond Hill.

        Mr. Stuckey's firm typically bids for subcontracting work, meaning his bids go to prime contractors. TYS Construction has operated crane rentals and installed pile caps at the ballpark.

        “The sessions are good because they bring more community awareness to what's going on,” Mr. Stuckey said.

        Bernice L. Walker, director of Small Minority and Female Business Development for Hamilton County, said Thursday will mark the third outreach program in the past year.

        “We explain the process of how bids are taken,” Ms. Walker said. “And we want to inform them about our small business program, and that we do have an interest in getting more small businesses to participate in the project.”

        The county fell short of its goal of 15 percent participation at Paul Brown Stadium, getting just 11 percent.

        Two months ago, it strengthened language — and expectations — for large firms bidding on work to explain how they will include small businesses as subcontractors.

        The goal has been exceeded so far at the ballpark, with 16 percent of the $84.4 million in work going to small businesses. Minority-owned firms have secured 8 percent of the work, while women-owned firms have received just 1.7 percent.

        Dale White, president and CEO of the small firm DAG Construction, has won $4.3 million in contracts at the ballpark. Mr. White attended both previous sessions.

        “We were able to understand what they were looking for, what (contracts) were coming out on the ballpark and how they were going to bid on it,” Mr. White said. “I think the county is moving in the right direction.”

        A second session is planned for June 28. The time and location for that meeting have not been set.

       



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